Pages

Monday, February 25, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Boom!  Three in a row!

And this one was a keeper.  Blood and gore flying, leather pants wearing, 'sugar-sickness' jabbing awesomesauce.  Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

First time I have liked Jeremy Reiner too, hated him as Hawkeye (probably more to do with hating on Hawkeye in comparison to my boys Thor and Cap...and Loki and Tony, though he's too short).

Anyway, the premise is that Hansel and Gretel got a taste for witch hunting when they roasted the candy-house-dwelling-one in their youth.  They go about killing witches and getting paid for their troubles by grateful townsfolk.

The opening credits were really cool; burning paper with images rendered in old-timey type and drawings, floating about a parchment landscape...yeah it's cooler to see than describe.  The music was pretty fabulous throughout, too.

The fighting scenes were pretty cool, the siblings have to rely on their wits considering the witches are stronger and faster, and they still get their asses kicked, which was nice to see (slightly more realistic).  The witches all look horrible, except the 'grand high witch' whom can affect a normal human face when she wants to.  Plenty of gory blood splatter.

So the two rock up to a town in time to save a supposedly mortal girl (turns out later to be a 'good witch', and of course, bangs Hansel) from being burnt by the town, driven into a frenzy by the sheriff (Peter Stormare, whom I swear plays the same role in every fantasy film) and the loss of 11 children.  H&G are immune to the witches spells, and we find out this is because their mother was a grand high witch of the good order, and the bad witches need such a being's heart for their spell to render them immune to fire.

Of course the day is saved and Gretel makes friends with a Troll named Edward (If this was not a deliberate poke at a certain other fantasy film series I will eat my foot) and the three of them, plus a young fanboy, strut off into the future and many more glorious witch hunts 'n riches.

There were delightful little gems throughout - for example Hansel has the 'sugar sickness' from being fattened up by the initial witch for dinner, as a child.  He has to jab a 'potion' in his leg with a massive copper syringe and needle every time his mechanical watch ticks over.  We find out the children were abandoned in the wood by their father because the town discovered the mother was a witch (not caring for the fact that she was a good one) and burnt her, upon trying to save his wife, their father was killed also.  The principal witch hunt of the story takes the siblings back to their home town and they rediscover their old house, and their mothers witch cave underneath.  I wonder that Gretel has power inherited from her mother and Hansel none, that seems unfair - apart from the whole spell immunity thing, of course.

The costuming was pretty cool, lots of black leather; though I bet 'Gretel' had to be sewn into her 'leather' pants they were that tight.  Though I was pleased she was not trying to fight in a skirt, such as the era would demand.  I'm also pleased her character had no love interest and instead made friends with a troll - that was delightfully refreshing.

I dig this movie; they have taken an old story and extrapolated it into something new, whilst remaining fun, unlike the other horrific examples we have had lately.

4 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having seen it, but... 4=good movie, recommended, 5=blewmymindwhyhaven'tyouseenityetI'vegottoseeitagaintalktoyoulater).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Beautiful Creatures

Maxing out on the movies this week - see nothing for ages and then all of a sudden I want to see everything.

Went alone (gasp!) to Beautiful Creatures last night, and was treated to a back row full of young teen girls, several of whom considered yelling "SHHHHHHH GUYS!" to be the epitome of polite consideration towards the other 4 audience members.  I have to say, I don't think 'Portia' nor 'Hannah' have a career in Human Resources lurking in their futures.

That aside, and the obligatory SPOILERS warning, this movie too I had no previous exposure to, though now I am thinking I will ferret out the book to read (there are 4 books in the series, at this point), since my major bugbear with the movie was the lack of substantial background given.  I wonder if this is how other people have felt seeing all of the previous movies to which I was intimately familiar with the books.  (LOTR, HP, P&P, Jack Reacher etc etc)  I think you must fill in a lot of the background knowledge you have obtained from the book into the fabric of the movie and not even consciously notice you are doing it, and so miss all the holes.

So - Beautiful Creatures.  A girl moves to a town in the horrific bible-belt south of the United States, to live with her uncle, the wealthy descendent of the towns establishing family and a bit of a 'spooky' recluse.  She attends school and blows out the windows of the classroom when the popular girls start praying for her salvation in English class, opposed to studying TKAMB because it is on the list of their church's banned books.  Honestly - I don't understand how any child could be told such a thing and not automatically seek to read the book in secret.  God knows I only read Fifty Shades (Oh yeah I did) because of all the fuss and bother.

Anyway - this girl, Lena, has apparent 'power'.  The male lead, Ethan, is a jock who aspires to greater intelligence and is struck with the new girl, and dumps the bible bashing bitch in the first scenes.  He cannot wait to leave the small town, is applying for all colleges as long as they are 'at least a thousand miles away' and who's Mother died, and father is a shut-in   Right, that's pretty much him for the whole movie.  He, obviously, falls in love with the lead, and she eventually takes all of his memories of her to keep him safe.  Glorious southern accents abound, be warned.

Basic plot summary - girl will be 'claimed' by either the 'light' or the 'dark' on her 16th birthday, depending on the judging of her 'true nature'.  Boys, apparently, have the will to choose.  Don't even get me started on that wee gem.

Gah!  GAH!!

Ahem.  Her mother and closest cousin turned dark and were subsequently ejected from the family (boys can stay - need I say GAH! again?!), and you wonder why they are filled with hate and resentment?!  "No, sorry, against your will you have been labelled 'bad', get out of my house you naughty 16 year old!"

I think I am judging this shit harsher than I normally would...

The darkness always claiming the women is apparently the result of a curse invoked by their ancestor whom brought back her lover to life after seeing him shot in a civil war skirmish, a spell forbidden in its use to any 'caster' ('witch' is a derogatory term, did you not know?!), so of course all the women who come after have to be punished.  After a lengthy search in a secret underground 'caster' library, Lena discovers that for the curse to be be broken, someone whom she loves has to die in payment.  (her uncle disguises himself as Ethan and dies in his place, just to ruin the whole ending twist for you, straight up.  You're welcome).

Overall, I fail to see how this is labelled 'Gothic' - she has darkish hair, and a penchant for copious amounts of dark eye-liner  and the family estate is sufficiently 'spooky', read = 'overgrown and messy'.  I did like how her hair was frizzy as fuck, and she was not immediately strikingly beautiful, so extra points in that regards for avoiding clichés (like pretty face+horrible hair='ugly', magic makeover - suddenly beautiful.  Fuck off).

There were no limits given to her power, though we are told that she will be the most powerful of all current casters and will usher them into a new cycle, governed by whichever power claims her.  Her uncles dark power is also supposedly waning since he is 'pretending' to be light.  Her cousin is a siren, with no explanation as to how she received that particular skill on her 16th birthday, nor if the phenomenon was common.  Her mother is only able to inhabit other peoples bodies with no explanation of how she came to lose her own (or indeed if she never had one, how she birthed a child).  Her mother possesses Professor Trelawney at one point and pulls the line "name one species that would miss them [mortals]" to the uncle, arguing that they all should be killed off.  She immediately continues talking, because obviously I thought of 5 species straight off whom would miss us very much, and I'll give you a clue for one - rhymes with cubic mice.

Several times we are told that Lena's powers are growing fast and she cannot control them, yet there is no mention of learning or training or anything of the sort; 'casting' seems to be instinctual - a canon I am not at all a fan of.

So the uncle dies looking like Ethan, shot by Ethan's best friend who was under the sway of the siren-cousin at the behest of the mother, the curse is supposedly lifted and Lena turns out to be both light and dark, and only has fire in one iris.  Yeah, that's a thing.  She kills her mother and just...goes back to school.

Ethan goes on a road trip to visit colleges with his bestie, whom survived the siren, and regains his taken memories of Lena as he drives out of town, pulling over the car he jumps out and screams her name, of which she hears way back in the library.  End film.

Overall impression?  Not great, but not the worst flick I've ever sat through.  I think if you like supposed (weak) 'Gothic fantasy' you might be willing to see this as a diversion, but don't expect to be blown away.  I hate to say it but...Twilight had more substance.  Groan.  Parts were quite funny and other parts were quite reminiscent of Dark Shadows, so not a total loss.

3 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having seen it, but... 4=good movie, recommended, 5=blewmymindwhyhaven'tyouseenityetI'vegottoseeitagaintalktoyoulater).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Les Misérables

To even up the parent favouritism stakes, went to Les Misérables with the Mother and Nana last night, and it was amazing.

Full disclosure:  I had never seen a production, movie adaptation, read the book nor heard the soundtrack for it, before last night, so my impressions were quite raw.

Russell Crowe - such an easy man to hate in any character incarnation.  Anne Hathaway - amazeballs, and gosh but she suits short hair.  Hugh Jackman - happy sigh.  Stole my heart at Wolverine.  I was very impressed.  I was a bit apprehensive considering it is a musical, and the awkward parts where they sing instead of talk (as opposed to the epic own-right-songs) usually make me cringe in musicals.  I would normally vastly prefer an Opera, and am well aware that my hypocrisy is due to my normally not knowing the language and grouping it all under 'own-right-songs', during an opera.  (I'm sure there are some specific music words, but meh).

Anyway - as a person who has the ability to induce nightmares in children sleeping in the next town over should I dare sing, I was quite awed by their ability to sing, first off, and their ability to sing while being so wretched and full of tears, and presumably snot.  Mad props.

I liked how the scenery was quite reminiscent of stage set/props at times, especially the barricade scenes.  That was cool.  And yet, shit like the opening - with the ship being pulled into the dry dock, was phenomenal.

I'm sure I was the last person on earth to familiarise themselves with the story, so suffice to say it was appropriately miserable given the title.  I'm sure there is some fascinating psychological study in discovering which specific characters individual people empathise with the most, but honestly - Éponine quite broke my heart.  Of course it did not help that I am not a massive fan of Amanda Seyfried, I think it's her big, wet eyes...anyway, yeah - not at all feeling empathetic towards her character and Marius.  Perhaps I am too old and bitter.  I simply have no time for 'mutual true love at first sight' stories.  Rubbish.

"But every day I'm learning
All my life
I've only been pretending
Without me
His world will go on turning
A world that's full of happiness
That I have never known"

I mean...come on.  Much more realistic, - and far more common.

Ahem.

The music was slightly familiar, but then I'm sure nobody could go without hearing reference to such a famous score at one point or another.  And quite sufficiently stirring - all three of us were trying to be most subtle in wiping away tears and snot as Jean Valjean died.

Now, Helena Bonham Carter - so, so good.  I've mentioned my appreciation of her skill before so shall not wax lyrical, but hers and Sacha Baron Cohen's performances were brilliant.  So, so good.

4 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having seen it, but... 4=good movie, recommended, 5=blewmymindwhyhaven'tyouseenityetI'vegottoseeitagaintalktoyoulater).

Oh - so apt

Ok, I don't know how I missed this before, and think I might have faint stirrings of recollection from a time before measure, but anyway - if you are in the midst of, or know people whom are on the PhD quest - read this, by Danny Yee.

The Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD?

"With the help of his friends and colleagues, Frodo passes through this final ordeal, but discovers at the end that victory has no value left for him. While his friends return to settling down and finding jobs and starting families, Frodo remains in limbo; finally, along with Gandalf, Elrond and many others, he joins the brain drain across the Western ocean to the new land beyond."

LOTR; full of life lessons.

---
Via The One Going to Norway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Gangster Squad

Accompanied my dear Father to Gangster Squad last night, and it was pretty good.  Obviously - SPOILERS to follow.

The story I think lacked reality for me, since I have very little prior knowledge of the gang wars/occupation and, well - American history in general.  However, I did enjoy the story and the cinematography was lovely.

Also - just how bad can people, whom I assume 'shoot up shit' fairly often, be at aiming their guns?!  I know the automatic sitch makes it even harder, but come on!

The romantic exploits of the gorgeous Ryan Gosling (swoon - seriously, those suits?!) were a bit naff, and appeared with very little background information.  You see them having breakfast at one point without any prior indication that the relationship had progressed past that very first supposed one-night-stand.  I've loved Emma Stone since I saw her in Easy A (Ooo and Zombieland - love it!), and she very much suited the costuming of the era, which was very well done, so overall that averaged out to 'tolerable'.

Seriously though - Ryan; yum.  His accent and mannerisms were delightful.  And I hate how they can make cigarette smoking look so...damnit.  His character's redemption after the shoe shining boys death was...gratifying.  The point where he shoots the baddie and claims 'not any more' to the accusation of being a cop was well received, despite feeling like you should disapprove on moral grounds.  Interesting.

The action was good, with liberal use of slow-mo bullet-firing, stuff-smashing etc, and of course the obligatory slow-mo group strut scenes, which always make me giggle.  Again - a little unbelievable here, supposedly a whole gang of killers against only six guys, even if nobody can aim (sorry, gunslinger Kennard) you would assume the odds would be in the gangster's favour.

The main character, the decorated ex-soldier and soon-to-be father, was portrayed by Josh Brolin in a very similar manner to that of Agent K-the-younger.  Not a problem, but had I disliked MIB3 (Um no - loved it), that would have bugged me.

I think I would group this with 'Jack Reacher', in that it is more of a plot-with-action type movie rather than action-fest-plot-like-weak-tea type movie (cough Die Hard cough), so would recommend people of similar taste to those who choose to sit behind me and grumble about the lack of constant man killing, give it a miss.

Perhaps more exciting - saw my first trailer for the new Die Hard, and both of us simultaneously agreed to see it next week.  I am also going to treat myself to a lonely Hansel & Gretel viewing on the weekend, whilst the parents head down to Christchurch (to return with the BigSib+Fiancé on Monday).  I suspect from the trailer alone I will love that ridiculous shit.

3.5 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having seen it, but... 4=good movie, recommended, 5=blewmymindwhyhaven'tyouseenityetI'vegottoseeitagaintalktoyoulater).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Engagement Glee

I spent a lot of the weekend giggling in delighted glee - The Old One got engaged on Friday night!

Can't wait.  They are going to be so gosh-darn happy!  And the proposal story is just so sweet.  I know!  I'm as surprised as you are!  No vom from me; I swear TOO's voice on the T-phone was 2 octaves higher just from shear happiness.  How could I be grossed out by such bliss?!
Squee!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Quilt: The Crazy Side

So the first side of my own quilt is all floral print fabrics and very small, 'delicate' squares, which while I love it - is only 50% epic.

The other half of my version of 'epic'; is batshit crazy and in this case composed of bright colours and blocky, stark designs.

I paper-designed and measured and counted squares etc first, as normal: 
And I had sewing companions throughout the process:
'Helpers' observing (with ears, eyes can be closed) from the bed tower - two singles stacked to make room for my sewing table...and covered in detritus from my unpacking and repacking storage boxes.  The two dogs would change places every now and again, I'm not sure why.

Anyway - I then cut, then laid out the pieces to decide on order and specific design.  I mucked up some half turns in this version, but you get the point:
Then I pinned by row, and sewed the lines of rectangles and the lines of triangles separately - hence the massive time delay - I did not want to sew the diagonals.  But I chopped into it on Wednesday night and did it all in one massive mission.

This is it finished, and laid out on top of the floral side for size comparison:
My choice in border fabric was made for me - being of which fabrics there remained enough.  Mum grabbed the extra metre of blue for me in Tauranga on Thursday, since one side needs to be bigger than the other for the actual quilting process and I want the floral side to be the 'main' one.

It doesn't show up well here, but the 'white' fabric is actually covered in small spots of all the other colours.

So: the finishing touches...in three different rooms of this massive house.  Whoops.  But - gorgeous retro carpet downstairs, right?!

I can still never get over how much of a difference the addition of each border makes, which colours it emphasises and so on.  I am much happier with the blue being the final colour than the pink.  

And that's it.  Will drop it in for long-arm quilting on Monday, and then bribe my lovely Mother to do the binding whenever it gets finished.

I'm packing up my machine now, and putting the room back to rights.  Am going to move on to cross stitch, and finish the projects I have long had on the go in that discipline (Hah.).

Rock on.

Rager

A friend of my Nana's has been visiting for the week, and with my parents away this weekend, the three of us went out for a raging Saturday night.

Dinner at Cobb & Co.

I didn't even know they existed any more!  They do!

And they still make traffic lights!
And yes, I did do all of the kids activities on the back of the place mat  and yes - I did beat the pants off my Nana in a race to finish the spot-the-difference.
I rule.  And my Nana is pretty great too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bird Infirmary

An idiot flew into the ranch slider.  I saved him from the dogs and set up a wee hospital on the front deck's table  (that's all hospitals do, right?  Give you bread and water and a cozy tea towel?!).

It just now got up, hopped up onto the balustrade, looked at me, shat, and flew off.

You're welcome, birdie.

Everyone's a Critic: American Gods

It is a book, for those of the uninitiated.  A book by Neil Gaiman (2001), and one which I liked very much indeed.  (I'm branching out - sharing my critique/opinions about more than just movies).  I read the longer, 'authors preferred' version, so I know not how the common version differs.  And, obviously, SPOILERS.

The hero (anti-hero?), 'Shadow', is hired upon being released from jail (and on the death of his wife and friend whom had a job lined up for him) by 'Wednesday'.  Wednesday turns out to be Odin, the Allfather and the book follows his goal of rallying the 'old gods' against the new.  The new gods are things currently worshipped  like 'media' and 'wired technology' (?) and are of the opinion the old gods have no place remaining in America.  The gods require belief/faith/sacrifices on which to sustain themselves, though some are making their way by working.  Others hate the new order of humanity so much that they kill themselves (Thor - Nooooooo!), are killed by the lack of current belief, or are killed by the 'opposition'.  And to completely ruin the surprise - Shadow is Odin's bastard son, we find out, which explains why he is able to do things like induce a snow storm just by wishing for it.  Cool.

The old gods were brought over/brought into being in the US by the settlers from every which country in the world.  And at the end it is revealed that the version of the gods in the US are alternate to the version in the home land, since the Allfather remains in Scandinavia, though knows all about his other deeds over the sea.  A twist I quite liked.

The massive twist of the book is that Odin is actually engineering the whole war, with the help of Loki who is 'leading' the other side.  The plan was that they would get the gods to fight, and 'Dedicate the battle to Odin' which would give him a massive power boost, (and get rid of some of the competition).  What I don't understand, and am disappointed was left out - was the explanation of what happens when the god does die.  Does everyone who believes in him/her suddenly forget?  Or does their continued belief bring them back to 'life'?  Because I figure, you can kill the 'god' of technology, but that bitch 'aint going nowhere.  And if they require belief for sustenance  why don't they show themselves to their believers more often?  Even the most ambivalent believer would start sacrificing half of their dinner steak if they knew the Allfather was actually hovering behind them.

I did like the vagueness used to describe the gods, sometimes clues as to who they were, were in their name, other times in the work they did or the objects they carried.  Sometimes hints were given in the wee interval stories, and occasionally not realised until the end.  Very careful and clever drip-feeding of knowledge: I like it when an author does not assume you unintelligent.  I also liked the extremely broad range of faiths represented - I'm all for myths and legends; I love stories.

An afterword at the end of the book shows the scene in which Shadow meets Jesus, cut from the original text for, I think, continuity reasons.  Jesus is of course the richest, most healthy of all the gods in America.  (though I suspect Media and Internet etc have him beat for shear power) however even he is not happy with the way things are going, since you 'become what they make you'.

So - a good book.  I have heard that it's one you either love or hate, and I suspect that depends on your own level of theism, in some regard.  Not a heavy or difficult read, and more of a slow steady burn rather than a raging inferno with regards to the liking of it.  4 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having read it, but...4=good book, recommended, 5= blewmymindwhyhaven'tyoureadityetI'vegottogoreaditagaintalktoyoulater).


"And what would drink or cold be doing killing me, a leprechaun of the blood? No, it was you losing the little golden sun killed me, Shadow, killed me dead as sure as water’s wet and days are long and a friend will always disappoint you in the end."

---

Oh wow- its being made into a TV series.  Huh.  Due out this year even.  God, but I am the last to jump on these bandwagons.  Fo' shame.  Ooo ooh - I read it before it was a movie/TV thing!  HipsterSnap! Hah.

On Repeat

The Decemberists, The Mariner's Revenge Song.
Love the story, and the music makes me giggle and spot-dance (wherever you are, whenever the song comes on) to the embarrassment of my poor dog.  Totally random.

The lead reminds me of someone, but I just can't put my finger on whom...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dinosaur disappointment

So I had to buy some fake poo for a present yesterday (don't ask) and came across something so wondrous that I bought two, the Marine Creatures version for a second parcel I was sending, and the Dinosaur version for myself.  I am not going to lie, I gasped very loudly in the isle, and near-skipped up to the teller with a massive grin on my face.

I should have known it was too good to be true. (also - epic freaking squee about my stop-motion!  Freaking tripod!)
Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

One of these things is not like the others.

I thought, well, if I squint it could be a Triceratops?  But no.  That's the red one.

Its definitely a bull.
A freaking bull.

So what now?  One of my 12 dinosaurs are missing?!  Abandoned to a fate of similar racial exclusion as my lone bull?  I mean, there's only so much you can do to instruct dinosaurs, right?  Its going to be a difficult task to stop my 11 dinosaurs from devouring my lonely bovine.  I might even have to segregate.

At least the lost dinosaur has probably ended up in a pack of Amazing Capsule[TM] Farm Creatures!  I mean, he's pretty much set up for life with regards food, right?  But forever alone...

FYI the melted capsule stuff stinks and is horribly sticky.

...what would happen if you swallowed one?!

I'm going to need better adult supervision, I could have almost missed that tiny warning all the way up there.
---
And speaking of tiny warnings, there is an interview from The Iron, who just got fired in favour of hiring The Cat.  (Monopoly)  So very Brilliant.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

White Island

After today's storm, catching the setting sun.  Told you it got clearer!

Also, using Dad's camera and his bigger lens.
Click to embiggen.

Pretty!

Monday, February 4, 2013

KiwiQuilt is Finished!

The Mother & Father went away for the weekend in their truck and Mum finished off the hand stitching of the binding.


She also hand-embroidered our names on our respective sides, as is tradition.   She had made machine-embroidered versions but decided it was too lazy.  (Sheesh).  And yet, didn't even do it in cursive.  I don't know, hard to get good help these days.  (*Hides.  For a good long time)
Yeah that's right; Doctor.  I did finish my side after graduation, after all.  Even if all the fabric was bought long before that.  Yep.


I am remarkably proud, best quilt to date (of course, soon to be overtaken...).

On a bed it looks pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself.

Done!  Now its going to get wrapped up with a big bow, and hidden in some cupboard until BigSib gets home in February.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Ancient Tripod

Seriously, ancient.

Apparently it belonged to my Great Uncle Garth, who, legend would have it, was one of like, a billion kids.

Anyway.

I had been playing around with taking pics of White Island, hoping it would blow up while I was watching.  Alas, no luck quite yet.

After far too long playing around on photoshop trying to align these suckers, I produced this:

And thought, shit - I wish we had a tripod.  Turns out, we do.  Two even; a mini one, and a beastly huge, ancient, perfect one.

So first this:
My first attempt.  I did not have all the screws in, so the whole set up was not perfectly stable.  Also the timing spaces were not at all even (waaaay too excited), and the clarity of the island depends greatly on the weather, for example some days I can see crater definition and today I cannot see the island at all.  And it is still a very fine day.

And then this:

Which I made over the whole afternoon, setting my alarm for first 15 and then 10 minutes while watching Return of the King.  I had the tripod set up on the balcony, properly this time, and out of the wind.

Went out for dinner with my lovely grandmother so I didn't catch the whole of the tide recession, it goes out quite a bit further still.

And you can see how much my OCD tendencies hate the jump from beginning to end, so I copied and inverted the order of the photos in each set, so yes - everything here swings backwards and forwards without the natural progression of time.  Its an Ohope thing.

Fun!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Its never, ever going to get old

And with that - I'm going to watch RotK.  Win.

Friday, February 1, 2013

D&M. [ie. some trite title to lesson the gravity]


After all, I did not mean to be so...grave.
---
In contemplating a change, a significant change; ones expectations shift.  Like suddenly the sun is rising for you every morning and it is easier to get out of bed.  Simply because you are not hiding from things any more.  Was I hiding?  From myself?  From some truth I didn't want to admit?

You can argue and advocate for something for so long, and then suddenly you are so invested in it you cannot back down.  You have to doggedly continue least you lose, or let someone (or something), or even yourself down.  You have spent so much time, lost out on so many other things in sacrifice, for it, you must make it work.

That sucks.

I am completely aware that I am paraphrasing introductory psychology textbooks in my typical 'sunk costs fallacy' portrayal.  Bear with me, that shit's in a textbook because its poignant - or incisive, if you will.

I think I am far too easily convinced by my own self.  And much too easily taken advantage of by everyone else.  The one time I ever actually put my foot down and stopped doing things for free, stopped letting someone take advantage; she turned into a right bitch and tried to ruin my life.  It's probably a nice indication of the beautiful people in my life that I have only ever felt that need, significantly, once.  I like helping people, I genuinely think that being the person someone feels safe enough in asking for help from, is the biggest compliment.  That someone thinks that you can do something better, or help more, than what they can do themselves - is magic.  But then I am most definitely the type of person who hates asking for help, and believes she can (or more specifically, should be able to) do everything herself.  If it gets to the point where I have to ask for help, the act of asking, and trusting someone else to be able to help, is massive and the person I choose, meaningful.  But that is not at all to say that I disparage others for finding it easier.  It is just me.

I have never taken time out to have a good long think about what I want to do.  What I actually want to do day in and day out, for the rest of my life.

I thought I had - as a precocious teenager I knew exactly what I wanted from the world.  As an undergrad the academic world was my oyster.  As a postgrad I thought everything was possible.  As a 'student politician' I believed the individual could effect change in society.  As a PhD I believe that the most important thing, is how you conduct your own life, that the daily choices you make are always in-line with your personal philosophy - whatever that may be.  Most recently, during a couple of weeks of holiday I took after submitting my thesis, I thought I had it sorted, what I wanted to do with my life.  But the truth is, every time my mind would wander during that week or so, I would ruthlessly haul it back on track and tell myself, no, this is what you want.  There is nothing else for you.  You do not want to do anything else.  And look! So much proof! You love this and this and this and that too - and wasn't that fun, that time you did that?  You loved that!  No, no - don't think of that, that was silly.

If I actually make a brutally honest list, it contains none of the things I thought it did, and a couple of genuine surprises.

And I thought, well maybe I don't have to do that...

...maybe I could do something else...

What would I do?  What could I do?

I am very aware that only a very small subset of my life is recorded in this very public domain.  And it is very illusionary.  But then, I think most of the time I am like that with the people around me anyway.  I write because I love to write, not because I want you to know everything about me.  I don't think people realise that, most of the time.  I certainly do not write for your specific amusement, no matter how many times you demand of me an update.

I once read this in some anonymous place on the internet, of where I now have no recollection, and copied it into a note, which I think portrays the emotion better than I can, right now:

"I could talk if I really wanted to. But it would sound like complaining, or it could, and it could put a burden on people. I just don't want to do that. I don't want to make anyone feel like they have to listen to me. I don't want to hurt anyone unless they've already shown that they're going to hurt other people first. I don't want to bind them into this hurt and helplessness I've got sometimes."

And that's ok.  I don't think everyone has to be spewing their internal truth out, all the time, to everyone they meet.  In fact I wouldn't hesitate to guess that most people genuinely hate hearing the 'internal truth' from about 80% of the people they hear it from.  From such instance breeds hurtful backstabbing and gossip.

One person of whom knew the most truth, decided that I meant nothing to him, and that I was worth nothing as keeping for a friend, and has disappeared from my life completely, within the space of a month.  I live in fear that insignificant truths would be spilt in my absence, for his amusement, still.  And that is a completely rubbish feeling.  And logically, I know (or would very dearly like to think) that he would not do that.  That the love I feel, even now, could not have been so tragically misplaced in the person I once knew him to be.  And this situation illustrates perfectly that "...unless they've already shown that they're going to hurt other people first..." is not always true.  You can hold more and darker secrets of someone else, and have them still not accept yours.  There are a lot of one-way roads in my life.

My ghosts occasionally frighten even me, and they are mine and I have accepted them and in a way even love them.  How could you be you at this exact moment, without all of your past?  You would be a stranger to yourself; the thought alone is impossible.

Growing up is tough.  Growing as a person is tough.  Learning truth, while always liberating eventually, is tough.  Accepting and knowing as true, every little trite piece of advice or shared 'truth' from people who it turns out knew first, hurts.

But eventually; hours, days, weeks, months or even years later, knowing is ultimately better.  You are better off, your mind is expanded, your life is truer and you are closer to that subliminally elusive state of complete 'happiness'.  That mythical point in which you finally realised that right here, right now - I am content in everything that I have and everything that I am.  I want to be surrounded by people of worth at that point.  I want many of the beautiful people I have now, to still be with me then.  I want new people too; ones I cannot even imagine, where I am at now.  When I get to that place, I want to know that I got there through being a good person.  Not relenting on my morals or taking 'the easy' road.

And we come full circle.  The 'Hard Road' is most definitely not automatically the 'Right Road', and in thinking so for so long, has been my greatest fallacy to date.  There are different roads with different challenges, and new 'hardness' that you never even expected.  The one road I have always envisaged is not the only route.

Its surprising.  And still - I have made no decisions yet.

Are you where you want to be?  Are you one of the extraordinarily rare people reading this in a complete state of smugness, cocooned in glorious, ecstatic 'happiness'?  Did you actually choose that situation, or did you just end up there because you simply placed one foot in front of the other for so many years?  Always telling yourself that it's OK  just get through this and then the fun stuff will start.  Then you will be happy.  Then you can start your 'real life'.  Just cope in the moment, and it will all be worth it in the end.  Not even taking the time to think what the end would entail.  Being too scared to even let yourself contemplate that this, this might not be for you.

Ends.  And beginnings.  So much stuff.